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15 Cap. Def. J. 117 (2002-2003)
Atkins v. Virginia

handle is hein.journals/capdj15 and id is 129 raw text is: Atkins v. Virginia
122 S. Ct. 2242 (2002)
L Faas
On August 16, 1996, Daryl Renard Atkins (Atkins) and William Jones
(Jones), armed with a semiautomatic handgun, abducted Eric Nesbitt
(Nesbitt) from the parking lot of a convenience store.' While taking money
from Nesbitt's wallet, Atkins found Nesbitt's ATM card and instructed Jones to
drive to a nearby bank Bank security cameras recorded Nesbitt leaning across
Jones to operate the ATM machine while Atkins pointed the gun at Nesbitt2
After Nesbitt withdrew $200, Jones drove Atkins and Nesbitt to an isolated
location. Atkins and Nesbitt stepped out of the truck and Atkins shot Nesbitt
eight times, killing Nesbitt?
Jones and Atkins both testified during Atkins's trial.4 Their testimonies
were generally consistent with the exception that each claimed that the other
actually shot and killed Nesbitt.5 A jury convicted Atkins of the abduction,
robbery, and capital murder of Nesbitt.6 It also found him guilty of the use of
a firearm during these offenses.7
At the sentencing hearing, Atkins presented the testimony of a forensic
psychologist who stated that Atkins fell in the range of being mildly mentally
retarded.' On cross-examination, the psychologist stated that he believed
Atkins was competent to stand trial and that it appeared that Atkins could
appreciate the nature of his behavior.9 The jury found that Atkins constituted a
future danger to society and that the murder of Nesbitt was outrageously or
1.  Atkins v. Virginia, 122 S. O. 2242, 2244 (2002).
2.   Atkins v. Connmonwealh, 520 S.E.2d 445,449 (Va. 1999).
3.  ld at450.
4. A tkin, 122 S. 0. at 2244. The prosecution allowvd Jones to plead guikyto first-degree
murder in exchange for his testimony against Alins. Idat2244n.1.
5.  Id
6. Id Se padyVA.CODEANN. S 181-31(4) (OIchie Supp. 2002) (defiming capital murder
as [t~he willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of anyperson in the commission of a robbery
or attempted robberyp); VA. ODE ANN. S182-48 (lchie Supp. 2002) (setting forth the circurn-
stances under which abduction is a Class 2 felony); VA. ODE ANN. S 182-58 (Mlchie 1996) (setting
forth the punishment for robbery).
7.  Adeim, 122S. O.at2244. SemdiyVA.CODEANN.S 18.2-53.1 (Mchie 19%) (stating
that use or displayof a firearm during the commission of certain felonies 'shall constitute a separate
and distinct felony').
8.  Adiv, 510 S.E.2d at 451.
9.  Id

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